On September 20, after successfully completing eight weeks of rigorous training, 17 Afghan women graduated as new police officers. As the thirteenth class of policewomen to graduate, they joined the ranks of 270 other women who have also received this honor since the Ministry of Interior established the Women's Police Corps in 2008. With each graduating class, the number of trained, skilled policewomen grows, setting an example for the next generation of Afghan women. Some of the graduates will have the opportunity to serve in one of the many Family Response Units (FRUs) across Afghanistan. These units are focused on stopping violence against women, and investigating crimes not only against women, but against children as well. The graduates' service in these units will be critically important in helping to protect traditionally vulnerable members of Afghan society and building a new Afghanistan.
Brigadier General Sapand, Acting Kabul Police Academy Commander, expressed his appreciation for the work of the women police officers, saying, "Women face challenges in all countries, but our women police face more challenges. Yet, we must work together to go forward and not backward."
The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL) has a long history of involvement with the FRUs as part of its police program. Following the transition of the police training program to National Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) in 2010, an INL police advisor continued to serve as the FRU program manager. With INL and NTM-A goals for the management of the FRU largely met, INL ended its direct program involvement in September 2011. Because of its importance to the U.S. government and the international community, however, INL continues to closely liaise with NTM-A regarding the FRU and opportunities for women within the Afghan National Police.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony, Jim Crow, INL Police Advisor, noted that the United States "looks forward to seeing an increasing number of Afghan women being given opportunities to pursue professional careers, such as serving in the Afghan National Police, so they too can contribute fully to their nation's development."